Ebola strikes air traveler, American relief workers
Amid the growing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in three West African nations, two new developments are fanning concerns about the international spread of the disease: a fatal infection in a Liberian air passenger who traveled to Nigeria and cases in two American medical workers in Liberia.
The air traveler was a 40-year-old Liberian man who had flown to Lagos, Nigeria, on Jul 20, having arrived on a connecting flight from Lome, Togo, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in a statement. He was symptomatic during travel and was admitted to a private hospital the same day he arrived in Nigeria.
An African media report said the man was a Liberian government worker who had traveled to Nigeria to take part in a meeting of a West African regional group known as ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). Quoting Nigeria’s health minister, the Jul 25 AllAfrica report said the patient had severe vomiting and diarrhea as he arrived at the international airport in Lagos.
According to a Jul 26 Associated Press (AP) story, the man wasn’t symptomatic when he boarded the plane, and his sister reportedly died from Ebola in Liberia, but he said he had had no contact with her.
On July 22, samples from the man were tested at Lagos University Teaching Hospital’s virology lab, where they were positive for Ebola virus, according to the WHO. Confirmatory tests are underway at the WHO’s Collaborating Center at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal.
The man died on Jul 25, and the WHO said it, partners, and Nigerian authorities are working closely to contain the case at its source.